With critical infrastructure at risk, White House weighs options in cybersecurity fight

Source: Nathanael Massey, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, August 9th, 2013

It has taken less than half a decade for the concept of cybercrime to migrate from the realm of science fiction into the boardrooms and bureaus of major U.S. institutions. A rash of intellectual property thefts, the recent hack into servers at the Department of Energy and a number of high-profile cyberattacks overseas have put both the private sector and national security services on alert.

Bureaucracy, budget woes muddle reformer’s bold agenda

Source: Katherine Ling, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Rare is the Obama administration official who can smile after testifying before House appropriators. But Energy and Water Development Subcommittee Republicans enjoyed hearing from the Department of Energy’s David Danielson. The DOE assistant secretary told the Republican-led panel recently about how he was turning his Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) into an accountable, efficient organization that would work smoothly with the private sector and protect U.S. innovation from foreign raiders. And he made music for Republican ears by promising “go, no go” project goals to protect taxpayer cash.

Kansas is propelling growth in wind energy

Source: Staff and news service reports, Kansas City Star • Posted: Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Kansas is among the largest and fastest growing wind energy markets in the country, the Energy Department reported this week. The agency’s annual Wind Technologies Market Report said Kansas ranked third among all U.S. states in the percentage of in-state electricity generation from wind power, with enough capacity to generate more than 20 percent of its electricity from wind energy.

Neb. court upholds wind farm tax credit

Source: E&E • Posted: Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

The Nebraska Supreme Court has ruled that a wind company can claim a $1.6 million tax credit to avoid paying higher taxes over the next several years, striking down a lower court’s ruling that the credit was unconstitutional.

Last year the hottest on record for U.S. — NOAA

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

The United States experienced its warmest year yet in 2012, with the highest surface temperatures since record keeping began in the mid- or late 1800s, according to the annual “State of the Climate” report released today. Last year also ranked either eighth or ninth in highest surface temperatures worldwide, depending on which of the four data sets considered by the report were used. The report, posted online today by the American Meteorological Society, was authored by an international group of nearly 400 scientists, with those from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center serving as its lead editors.

Move state green power mandate to 90%, and technology will follow, advocates say

Source: Anne C. Mulkern, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

California needs to set more aggressive targets for renewable energy, aiming to mandate as much as 90 percent of power by 2050, community advocates said here yesterday. A state official, however, said it’s not feasible. Members of a committee representing low-income and minority populations, which is advising the California Air Resources Board as it plans future moves, raised the issue when asking how soon the state will cut fossil fuel-derived electricity generation.

Wind’s banner 2012 is followed by woes in 2013 amid policy uncertainty — DOE

Source: Katherine Ling, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Wind energy was the fastest-growing source of electricity in the United States last year, installing enough capacity to power 15 million homes, the Energy Department announced today. It accounted for 43 percent of all new U.S. electric generation capacity and $25 billion in new investment in 2012, the annual DOE wind market report says. The report was prepared in partnership with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Rate of climate change underway 10 to 100 times faster than anything in 65M years — research

Source: Anne C. Mulkern, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, August 5th, 2013

The climate is changing at a pace that’s far faster than anything seen in 65 million years, a report out of Stanford University says. The amount of global temperature increase and the short time over which it’s occurred create a change in velocity that outstrips previous periods of warming or cooling, the scientists said in research published in today’s Science.

House Dems float proposals for energy reform

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, August 5th, 2013

Several House Democrats yesterday introduced legislation outlining ideas for energy tax reform, including ending tax incentives for oil companies and providing breaks for certain clean energy technologies. Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.) introduced the oil bill, H.R. 2956, which he said would raise about $2.4 billion per year. The bill would eliminate a variety of tax breaks — such as the intangible drilling costs deduction and section 199 domestic manufacturing deduction — for the five largest oil companies. It emerged from a competition he held among constituents to suggest ways to save the government money.

Republican former heads of EPA publicly support Obama’s action plan

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, August 5th, 2013

As Capitol Hill Republicans prepare to make the case to their constituents over the August recess that President Obama’s Climate Action Plan will ruin the U.S. economy, four former U.S. EPA administrators from their party wrote in an editorial today that the plan would “ensure a strong economy along with a livable climate.” Former Administrators William Ruckelshaus, Lee Thomas, William Reilly and Christine Todd Whitman — who all served under Republican presidents — praised Obama in a New York Times op-ed piece for directing their former agency to regulate carbon dioxide from new and existing power plants under the Clean Air Act.